Tuesday, May 23, 2006

NBA Conference Finals Predictions

After two totally awesome rounds, we're down to the final 4. In the Eastern Conference, we have a rematch from last year, as the Detroit Pistons will take on the Miami Heat. In the Western Conference, we have another playoff rematch, although last year it took place in the second round, as the Phoenix Suns will take on the Dallas Mavericks. Let's take a look at each series.

Detroit Pistons vs. Miami Heat
Technically, this is a rematch from last year. However, Miami is a much different team this year, after Pat Riley overhauled the roster in the offseason. Gone are Damon Jones and Eddie Jones, starters last year, and in are Jason Williams and Antoine Walker. The result? A more talented team, but it took them a while to find their groove. But now that they have, they're a legitimately scary team with the talent to win it all. Heck, they probably would have beaten Detroit if Dwyane Wade had been 100% in Game 7.

For Detroit, it's the same old story for them. We know what they have, and we know what they do. It will all depend on what type of intensity they play with, because if they play like they did in Games 3-6 against the Cavs, Miami can and will beat them. I do think Detroit did at least come to their senses somewhat in that 2nd half... they began playing their old style of defense, which is to say that they absolutely shut the opposing team down. I think they'd do well to stick with that strategy.

As far as the series goes, let me just say that Dwyane Wade is the best player in the series, and one of the top 5 players in the NBA. Also, I do like this Miami team more than last year, because I think that when things are going right they have a lot more balance and scoring options. However, Shaq is just not his old self. He can't play as many minutes, and because of the refs or otherwise he has not been as effective in thos minutes. I think with Wade on board they can again extend it to 7 games, but I think it'll be a new year, and the same results. PISTONS IN 7.


Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns
Very interesting matchup here as well, if only because of the coaches, because Avery Johnson and Mike D'Antoni are absolutely 2 of the top 4 coaches in the NBA. Add on to that that these teams are talented and play fun-to-watch styles, and this should be another entertaining series.

When Phoenix is hitting their 3s (like they were in Game 7) they are unbeatable. Against a super-athletic team with a lot better coach (AKA the Mavs as compared to the Clips), I don't see them doing this as much. As Dallas showed against the Spurs, they can play smallball if need be, which will probably negate any positive Kurt Thomas would be able to bring.

I think this will be very entertaining, but I think the Mavs defense is just too much better than the Suns defense. I think whoever Steve Nash guards, whether it's Devin Harris or Jason Terry, will just put up really big numbers. Dirk, as always, will be excellent as well. MAVERICKS IN 6.

15 comments:

Benny said...

I'm more excited about the Mavs/Suns series. I expect all offense and no defense.

Rob said...

Because the guys Steve Nash has guarded in the previous two series, Smush Parker and Shaun Livingston, have sure put up huge numbers.

According to 82games.com Steve Nash's opponents have averaged 8.4 production in the playoffs, an exceptionally low number. During the regular season he allowed an average production of 15.3, which is merely average, but better than his backup Leandro Barbosa, at 18.0.

The irony of mentioning Jason Terry when discussing Nash's alleged poor defense is that Terry is one of the worst defensive players in the NBA, both from an on-the-ball and team defense perspective. He's improved this year, but is still a liability.

Nash is a below average one-on-one defender, but stays in front of his man well enough to be in the top 30 for offensive fouls drawn. (http://www.82games.com/charge.htm)He's also a tremendously smart team defensive player. That's why Phoenix allows more points when he's off the floor than when he's on. (source again: 82games.com)

twins15 said...

Smush Parker and Shaun Livingston aren't exactly offensive weapons at this point. Smush has an inconsistent outside shot, and he tried postingup Nash a lot which isn't really his game. I love Livingston and he's going to be fantastic, but again, at this point his outside jumper is not that good and you can just sag off him for the most part.

That's why I think the Mavs guards will be able to play better against him. Harris doesn't really have a deep game, but he showed he can consistently hit that midrange jumper, and he's pretty much faster than anyone on the court (except maybe Barbosa, in terms of sheer speed). Terry, on the other hand, does have a good outside shot, but I suspect he'll be guarding by Raja.

Another thing is that a lot of times the Mavs have either Dampier or Diop in the game, which can make things more difficult at the rim. Phoenix doesn't really have anyone like that, unless you consider Shawn Marion an imposing prescence at the rim.

Amanda Lynn said...

Diop is a key facor in this series. GO SENEGAL!

Amanda Lynn said...

Diop is a key facor in this series. GO SENEGAL!

Sports Aficionado said...

Hey Lets Face It I Have To Pull For The Heat Their My Team But It Def Won't Be Easy. After Watching Game 1 Last Night My Confidence Has Skyrocketed Wade Had A Big Night Despite Only Playing 27 Minutes And The Heat Showed They Can Play Without The Two Biggest Guys On The Floor. Most Of The Time You Get A Lead Throw In Some People Off The Bench Grab A Breath And Go Back In. Last Night Wade And Shaq Came Out And At One Point The Lead Grew. It Wont Be Easy But A Game 1 Win Away Is Always A Good First Step


Thanks For The Time Ladies And Gentlemen
Its Time For Riley To Return

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